tv Your Bottom Line CNN April 7, 2012 9:30am-10:00am EDT
the plane one day and fly it as a tribute to his father. news doesn't take the weekend off. your bottom line starts right now. >> good morning, everyone, political battle lines being drawn across your kitchen table, how you feel about your money will decide this elections. the cost of autism, both emotionally and financially, you will hear from one family who went deep into debt to care for their children. and stedman graham, you know him best as oprah's partner. he says his identity is more than that. first, both president obama and mitt romney acknowledge a recovery is under way and that's about all they agree on when it comes to your money. the president called economic fairness the defining issue of our time. >> in this country broad based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a
wealthy few. it has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class. >> the president argues he is here to protect medicare, social security, and milgtd class be jos and this is what the president is banking on, a recent cnnorc poll finds president bush and the republic answers are still held responsible for the economic problems than president obama and the democrats. will cain and john are cnn contributors. mitt romney sharpened his message this week trying to say that government needs to get out of the way so does that resonate? >> i think he has a willing audience. i will say. this i think we too often treat so many economic indicators. for example, unemployment, as like the political scoreboard plus one negative one. what's more important is how people feel. that sounds vague. college professors have quantified this, take home pay, what your paycheck looks like after inflation and taxes. >> going down. >> going todown.
i don't know if mitt romney has the answer to what americans need because willing audience is ready to listen. >> what mitt romney is trying to say is don't let this president squander a recovery. the president is saying, look, we have a recovery and it is because of our policies. those are the two messages they're trying to sell. >> they are. mitt romney had to pivot the message a bit or will have to to acknowledge the improving recovery saying we may be moving in the right direction but not fast enough because of this failed policy. that's the argument. it is all about the middle class at the end of the day. elections are won by the candidate that collects best with moderates and the middle class. the problem is the middle class has beenet going squeezed not just through this recession but for decades. >> i think seized is too kind a word. >> make it more valid. the point is the forgotten middle class and reality has been getting less out of their paycheck and even after the bush tax cuts for a long time and the fault lines of this whole election are centered on the middle class and set that in terms of the debate in kansas
saying he was the candidate that could strengthen and grow the middle class and you heard him say it is how recoveries go and candidate romney, governor romney saying, look, i will be fighting for the middle class. that's what he made the statement about. >> let's listen. >> the president came here yesterday and railed against arguments no one is making. and criticized policies no one is proposing, and one of his favorite strategies and setting up to distract us from his record and while i understand the president doesn't want to run on his record, he not can't run from his record either. >> what do you think about that? >> we both raise the middle class and how they feel about the pocketbook will be determinant this this election. one, as defined by economic rights and entitlements, that will be the democratic president obama's message, what can i provide you to help you out versus economic liberty, let's free up the economy, see how it can grow on its own and allow that to help you and mitt romney also said if this is an election
about who hands the most out and give you the most, don't vote for me. >> these are narrative that is have been recycled in some form based on philosophical divides between the two parties that have gone on for decades. i think they distort the reality a little bit. i don't think he is talking about a government centered society and certainly doesn't sometimes discuss have this die bol call plat to under mine freedom in america. the democratic view is government has a role to play in strengthening the middle class. when the middle class succeeds, america succeeds. >> i asked van jones, the first victim of the tea party really who used to be a green jobs guru for the president and asked him how do we have a middle class resurgence if we don't fix the housing situation and the student loans situation. >> what used to be the pathway, homeownership and college have been the trap doors that fall from the middle class into poverty because of the under water mortgages. one quarter of our homes are under way. the incredible cost of going to college and kids graduating into
no jobs, you kind up the two pathways out become the trap doors there. >> talk about the kitchen table. i don't see anybody. >> the administration has provided some efforts to take people out under water loan mortgages and tried some efforts to reduce college loan debt. those have been largely opposed by the republican party some mitt romney in particular believes perfectly le jt mat point of view, let the market work it out. you can argue he is saying the trap door was created because it was too easy. >> gas prices, near record eyes and as the elections heats up, joe biden has looked into a crystal ball and after 12 minutes of analysis of what's going to happen and why gas prices are high, he tells what you will happen next. the high cost of autism sent this family into $67,000 of debt four years. how are they doing now? we'll ask them next. okay, team! after age 40, we can start losing muscle --
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i don't need to tell you that gas prices are hitting american families hashd. the average family con assumes 1,100 gallons of gas every year. go back to the start of obama presidency when a gallon costs $1.85, and the average family was paying $2,000 a year. today if you look at gas prices near record highs, the price per year at the pump is $4,300 a year if we stuck around this level. that's an extra $2,300 out of disposable income that most americans simply can't afford.
little wonder 7 in 10 americans say rising gas prices are causing a hardship. they don't stay stat and i can are expected to go higher as the peak driving season kicks in and vice president joe biden hit the trail this week and promised gas prices are coming down eventually. >> oil prices will come down. gas prices will come down. whether it is in two months or a year, whenever they do, they will come down and sure as the devil and they will come down. >> sure as the devil. democrats are hoping they will come down, right? will cain and john are back and will, are you surprised he is making this bold prediction? i think gas prices will come down, too and might go back up and come back down again. >> it raises the question what's your point. as a conservative i have gone on tv and said the president doesn't have control over short-term gas prices. i won't malign him when they're saying and not give him credit when they come back down. i don't know what the point is. belly aching? >> we said $2300 extra this
year. if the gas prices come down, it takes heat off the incumbent. >> you can tell the obama administration and the campaign have nervous about the impact of higher gas prices no question. it goes to the heart of how the middle class is feeling when they go to the voting booth. it is a real issue. even though presidents don't affect the price of oil -- >> in the near term. >> in the short-term, most americans feel they do. >> you shouldn't believe any politician that tells you gas prices will do this right now and i am going to make it happen because they can't. >> you really shouldn't believe a politician that says a bench mac and says elect me and you will have 2.50 gas. >> they're out of the race, right. >> not yet. >> i always keep saying a 2.50 gas price, global recession would do that and no president wants to be the owner of a global recession. do they decide this election or jobs and the direction of the country? >> i think gas prices will have a huge effect on this election. what we talked about earlier,
take home paycheck, takes a big chunk out and i can mas you feel bad where you sit. >> a major factor along with jobs and for the obama administration it is not a complication because part of the success story is the rise of the american auto industry and this is the flip side. >> coming up next, the high cost of autism. we met this family four years ago and they were $67,000 in debt. we wanted to check back in to see how they're doing today. where the cost to both repair your home and replace what's inside are covered. to learn more, visit us today. [ male announcer ] you're at the age where you don't get thrown by curveballs. ♪ this is the age of knowing how to get things done. so, why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. 20 million men already have. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain; it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.
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buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪ the cdc estimates 1 in 88 children has autism. that's a 23% increase from 2009. those are just numbers. we want you to meet the people behind the numbers. >> all three of our boys were
diagnosed with autism. jackson was diagnosed at two and a half. the twins were diagnosed a little after the first birthday. actually, all three were diagnosed in one year's time. >> at the beginning you are numb. you think, okay, three kids with autism. >> where do you go from here? >> they were $67,000 in debt. how are they doing today? michelle and ralph join me from their home in new york. welcome to the program. so nice to see you begin. since we aired your story one of your friends was declassified and is now developing along. you credit a lot of that early therapy with money, money thaw spent and early intervention. how is he and everyone else doing now? >> this is lucca here. he is eight, and bennett, twins and they're both eight and doing well in school and they were very fortunate, very fortunate to have therapy so early.
they're both in third grade. lucca is a piano player. he is doing really well with his musical talent. bennett is doing great also. he is doing -- he likes to do acting and singing and likes to play and a lot of different things and so they have come very far. jackson, that's our ten-year-old, he is right here. jackson, can you say hi? >> hi. >> say hi. >> jackson is doing well, too, but he is completely depend ent on us for all aspects of his daily living. >> in 2008 you were $67,000 in debt. how financially are you doing now as you deal with this? >> well, we're in the same boat except we're more in debt. jackson is currently home schooled because we haven't been able to get him into an appropriate program. there aren't a lot of programs for children who have needs like jackson, and the ones that exist are very small even though they
fit 24 children so you have to wait for a child to age out and a space to open up. jackson is currently home schooled which means i am unable to work, so now we have been ten years with just one income. our debt is higher. we owe about aside from our mortgage we have about instead of 67, we're at 92,000 instead because we use a lot of that money as an income source basically to help pay for all of the extra stuff that we need for the boys >> ralph, you work six days a week, is that right? >> just about, yeah. >> and so the bills, the bills clearly you must have insurance that helps or state programs, of course, and taxpayer assistance as well, but when you have two children on the spectrum, what kind of bills do you have? where is the money going? is it tutors? is it speech therapy? tell me about how the money is going out the door.
>> well, we still pay for private speech therapy and occupational therapy for bennett, and jackson is still needs a lot of just extra things that aren't covered. jackson has medical needs that aren't acovered always by insurance, and jackson still needs pull-ups and wipes and baby food to help him get supplements in, so those are extra expenses you typically wouldn't have when you have a ten-year-old. >> do you see something that you think you need, you know, sometimes you don't want to deal with an insurance form and you want to deal right now with getting on with the services that you need and i think so it is frustrating sometimes for so many families. so nice to meet you. we to want check in with you again. thanks for letting us in for the morning. we wish the best to you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> poppy harlow is here with a
look at the overall cost of autism. you can see from one family how the costs add up. >> i think the family really brings it home for folks because when you look at these numbers, it is hard to believe. they're real. these numbers just came out. the cost of autism to the united states every single here is projected to be $137 billion. that's according to research by autism speaks. when you talk about the cost per person, somewhere in the range of 1.4 to $3.2 million, and the severe end of the spectrum it will cost $2.3 million to raise that child. it doesn't go away in adulthood. when you talk about how much families with kids that have autism make, they make less than the average family. you just heard it from that family. generally 28% less. when you talk about mothers trying to raise these children, they make 56% less than families with children without health issues. that's just another burden they have to bear. of people say doe insurance, christine, help out.
doesn't insurance cover the covet the cost of autism? it doesn't. you've got 29 states right now in the united states where insurance does cover autism treatment. also you've got to remember that once these kids are adults, they're still dealing with autism. so what happens when they're out of the education system? how are they being paid for? a lot of the funding comes from the state, from the federal government. but residential expenses, group homes, where are they going to live, how are they going to be taken care of at home, that's a big expense, also, when you talk about working, how does a family of autism work? 784% of the adults with autism were unemployed. 74% of the ones with jobs worked less than 20 hours per week. >> poppy harlow, thanks for running through the numbers with us. reeling through the diagnosis, many families have to become financial experts.
the father of a 14-year-old autistic son, welcome to the program. >> thank you for having me. >> nice to have you with me. you're trying to be the cfo of the family, trying to run the medical side of all the diagnosis and treatment. let's talk about the money portion. 79% have not set up a trust. 77% have not written a letter of intent. 67% have not feed a trustee. 51% have not identified a guardian. there's clearly planning gap. what is the single biggest mistake the families make in terms of the financial part of an autism diagnosis? >> i think a lot of it is the paralysis that they feel. when the diagnosis is gotten, they circle around the family first. then they'll start bringing in the school and medical experts. the third part of it that gets left out is bringing in the other professional team, the legal, financial, and tax
people. it's so important to get those ducks in a row. as you're doing your planning not only for your child's diagnosis and medical but the learning stage. >> a trust for your special needs child. tell us why it's important to set up a trust? prior to the age of 18, most services are provided by the local services. then they may be eligible for state assets. in most states a child would have to have less than $2,000 at the age of 18 in order to get government benefits like you saw. >> so grandma gives an inheritance, that could knock your kid out of eligibility for benefits? >> absolutely. so the government has allowed for a special trust. as long as it's set up by an attorney and it's never given directly to the child but it's
used for goods and services, that won't be counted against the child. >> that's excellent advice. day-to-day finances they're really struggling with and planning ahead is a main priority. how do they plan ahead? >> i think you start looking what you can do from a cost standpoint and things you can do that are free. i think it's directly important to make sure proper estate planning is done. having a will -- >> most people in general don't do this. then if you're dealing with a special needs child, you feel like you're playing defense. you've got to think about these big issues. >> you really do. there are two pieces that are very important. number one, a willy decide or help decide who the guardian of your child will be while they're under 18. if you don't make that decision in a will, the state will come in and make that decision for you. in addition the state will automatically give a portion of the dollars for your child. that could interfere with their government benefits as an adult.
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and we'll throw in up to $600. how's that for common sense? i wanted to let you in on a couple of conversations i had this week. you known stedman graham best as oprah winfrey's longtime partner but he's also a successful businessman and the author of a new book "identity condition your pathway to success." >> if you're thinking in the old box, if you say you can't, you can't. if you look at the glass half empty as opposed to half full -- i mean this is the greatest country in the world. if you're not making it in america, you're not doing
anything. you're stuck. you want to be able to change your learning, to be able to adjust to the new world order, you know, to be able to adjust to the new normal. you've got to know technology, work on yourself, reinvent yourself. i don't care what age you are. you can be 65 or 70. you still have to develop a process for improvement every single day because you're still living. >> and speaking of invention and improvement, i interviewed van jones about his new book "rebuild the dream." i asked him what is the best piece of advice you ever received. >> you know i break the rules. >> go for it. >> my father told me when i was going off to yale for law school, he was from the south but he never saw it. he was emotional about it. he told me, he said, you listen. when you get there you're going to see there are two kinds of smart people. they make simple things and make them sound complicated so they can enrich themselves and there are people who take very
complicated and make them sound simple to empower other people. i want you to be that kind of smart kid when you come home. that totally framed my approach to the legal education. i wanted to be able to explain ideas to ordinary people but the other advice i got from my proffers. he said any choice you make, make it a choice that offers more choices. in life when you're the first born, you've about got nothing to do but die. >> life narrows choices. >> my college professor told me life narrows your choices. if you have to make a choice, make a choice that gives you moo more choices. >> he talk race, labels, identity, success. follow us on facebook and twitter and tell us what you think of the interviews and the show. our handle is cnn@bottomline. now back to cnn for